OMAHA, Neb. – Coming off an impressive 8-1 win over Kent State in its College World Series opener on Saturday, the Arkansas baseball team returns to action on Monday as it faces two-time defending national champion and seventh-ranked South Carolina in a winner’s bracket game. First pitch is set for 8 p.m.
Monday’s game will be televised on ESPN2 and also streamed online on ESPN3.com. Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser and Jessica Mendoza will have the call. The game will also be available on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG. Chuck Barrett (play-by-play) and former Arkansas Sports Information Director Rick Schaeffer (analyst) will call the action. A live blog and live stats will also be available on ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
Arkansas, 45-20 on the season, opened the CWS on Saturday with a 8-1 win over Kent State. The Razorbacks put together their best offensive performance against the Golden Flashes, scoring eight runs on 10 hits. Jake Wise homered and tied a career-high with three RBI, while Joe Serrano was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a RBI. Brian Anderson and Bo Bigham also added two hits. On the mound, DJ Baxendale and Brandon Moore combined to allow a run on four hits. Baxendale earned the win after throwing 6.1 innings and allowing a run, while Moore picked up his third save of the season with 2.2 scoreless innings in relief.
As a team, the Razorbacks are hitting .274. Arkansas is led offensively by Matt Reynolds, who is hitting .333 with seven homers, 43 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Tim Carver is batting .300 with two homers, 30 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Dominic Ficociello has a .298 batting average with six round trippers and 40 RBI. Anderson is hitting .297 with two homers and 11 RBI.
The Arkansas pitching staff has a team ERA of 2.87. Sophomore right hander Ryne Stanek will make the start against the Gamecocks. Stanek has started 16 games in 2012 and has a 7-4 record with a 2.91 ERA. In 86.2 innings of work, Stanek has struck out 80 and is holding the opposition to a .235 batting average.
Out of the bullpen, Barrett Astin has appeared in a team-leading 30 games, 27 in relief, and has a 3-5 record with a team-high 10 saves and a 2.15 ERA. Colby Suggs has pitched in 29 games and is 7-0 with a 1.22 ERA. Moore has seen time in 28 games and has compiled a 5-2 record with three saves and a 2.62 ERA.
South Carolina, 46-17 on the season, is the No. 8 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks have won 22 straight postseason games, including a 7-3 victory over No. 1 seed Florida in the opening round of the College World Series on Saturday. South Carolina went 18-11 in SEC play to win the Eastern Division title.
South Carolina is hitting .272 as a team. The Gamecocks are led at the plate by Christian Walker, who is hitting .318 with 11 homers and 54 RBI. Tanner English is batting .311 with 22 RBI, while Evan Marzilli is hitting .291 with two homers, 30 RBI and a team-high 13 stolen bases.
The South Carolina pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.06 ERA. The Gamecocks will start junior right hander Colby Holmes in Saturday’s game. Holmes has started 14 games this season and has a 7-1 record with a 2.80 ERA. Holmes has struck out 61 batters in 74 innings and opponents are batting just .218 against the right hander.
Matt Price has pitched in 25 games, 20 as a reliever, and has a 4-4 record with a team-high 12 saves and a 3.38 ERA. Tyler Webb has appeared in a team-leading 36 games and is 6-1 with three saves and a 1.89 ERA. Evan Beal has pitched in 27 games and is 4-4 with five saves and a 4.02 ERA.
Arkansas and South Carolina have met 57 times previously with the Razorbacks holding a 31-26 edge in the series. The two teams have split eight meetings on neutral sites. Arkansas is 1-0 vs. the Gamecocks in the NCAA Tournament. Earlier this season, the Razorbacks and Gamecocks played a tightly-contested three-game series with South Carolina winning two of the three games.